So you’re over fast fashion, or you want your fashion purchases to less of an impact on your carbon footprint, or you only want to support brands that pay their workers fairly, or you just want to understand what “sustainability made” really means. Well my friends, this post is for you. I’ve consolidated a little list of the terminology you need to know to be more conscious about your retail therapy.
CRUELTY FREE – indicates that there was no animal testing involved; certification through PETA and Cruelty Free International
ECO-CONSCIOUS or ECO-FRIENDLY– marketing terms that claim a brand has a minimal or reduced impact on the environment; does not require any official certifications
ETHICAL – good moral standards; this term is somewhat vague but indicates that the no harm is done ; I use this as an umbrella term for what I consider to be good, conscious brands
FAIR TRADE – an official certification that means that a brand upholds certain standards in regards to environmental stewardship, income sustainability, empowerment, and the wellbeing of the workers; learn more here
FAST FASHION – brands that offer trendy and cheap products at the ever-increasing speed of the trend cycle; often these brands sacrifice ethics in the name of speed and profit
GREEN – a marketing term that really doesn’t mean anything; similar to eco-conscious
NO-WASTE or ZERO-WASTE – defined as “The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health” by the Zero Waste International Alliance
ORGANIC – an official certification that indicates that the materials a brand uses are in compliance with a set of standards; some important organic organizations include GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards), OTA (Organic Trade Association), and Green America
SLOW FASHION – a movement that priorities the quality and longevity of clothing through ethical and sustainable measures; the “opposite” of fast fashion in that it allows for a slower production cycle
SIZE INCLUSIVITY – this means sizing that extends beyond traditional “straight” sizing (US sizes 0-14); the degree to which the size range is extended can vary
SUSTAINABLE – broad term similar to eco-conscious; usually indicates a positive environmental and social impact; often involves the recycling or reusing to increase the longevity of a product
TRANSPARENCY – sharing with the public where products are made and who makes them; the level of transparency can vary widely from listing factories to including the name of the person who made a garment on the label
VEGAN – products made without the use of skin, hair, or feathers from animals (leather, wool, silk, fur, feathers); plant and man-made textiles
The best way to understand the ethics behind a brand, and know who you’re really buying from, is to go to the brand’s website and look at their “about” page. 99% of the time brands will lay out of the good they are doing, and if you can’t find it then they probably aren’t doing any good. You probably don’t have the time or energy to research every brand you buy from, so I’m working on compiling a list of my favorite ethically conscious brands. Let me know if there are any brands you recommend, comment below or DM me on Instagram!
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